Understanding the Confidentiality Rules
The Texas Rules of Disciplinary Procedure contain confidentiality provisions, which govern the Chief Disciplinary Office's ability to respond to media inquiries. Rule 2.16 of the Texas Rules of Disciplinary Procedure outlines what information is confidential at various stages of the disciplinary process.
As a general rule, if a disciplinary proceeding is being heard by an Evidentiary Panel, the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel may not provide any information unless and until the panel finds that professional misconduct has occurred and imposes a public sanction. The Evidentiary Panel's final judgment is a public record from the date the judgment is signed, even if the judgment is subject to appeal. Once all appeals have been exhausted, the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel may provide, upon request, all statements, documents, and other information relating to the disciplinary proceeding that came to the attention of the Evidentiary Panel.
If a disciplinary action is before a District Court, filed documents and information are public and available as in other civil trials. The Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel does not provide media with copies of documents that are publicly available in the District Court file.